Whitecaps finish expansion season with loss By Steven Sandor Posted on October 23, 2011 3 0 589 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Joe Cannon PHOTO: CANADA SOCCER The first expansion season is over. Now, the Vancouver Whitecaps will prepare for a second expansion season. Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Colorado guaranteed the Whitecaps would finish tied for the worst record in MLS with the New England Revolution. But, if you want to be picky, the tiebreaker in MLS is head-to-head record, and New England drew and beat the Whitecaps this season. So, by the MLS book, you can say that the Whitecaps finished with the worst record in the league. Camilo, who scored 12 goals this season, was voted the team’s MVP for the season. Defender Alain Rochat, who scored the opener Saturday, was named the team’s unsung hero. Midfielder Gershon Koffie, who wrested the role of midfield enforcer away from Terry Dunfield, was named the team’s most promising player. But, make no mistake, that’s about as sentimental about the 2011 season that Whitecaps fans — and, more importantly, the front office — should be. They can’t worry about who won awards. Fact is, they were on a bad team — so the achievements of the brighter lights is exaggerated., We Next year, coach Martin Rennie will be asked to blow it all up and start over again. And, for all intents and purposes, the Whitecaps will be an expansion team again. And Rennie should have a chip on his shoulder, after his Carolina RailHawks imploded down the stretch and in the NASL playoffs. Keeper Jay Nolly was lost on the bench after an inconsistent start to the season. And, if this final game was the last audition for current Whitecaps to make their cases to be back in Vancouver under Rennie, Joe Cannon did himself no favours. With the Whitecaps nursing a 1-0 lead thanks to the Rochat goal, Cannon got down to block a free kick from the Rapids’ Jeff Larentowicz, and the ball went through the keeper’s arms and legs. And, to make the moment just all that more uncomfortable, he got up and pointed to his wall, as if was someone else’s fault that he couldn’t stop a ball that went right through him. Colorado then took the lead for good in the 82 minute; a strike from substitute Wells Thompson took a deflection and looped into the goal. While the deflection was a bit unfortunate, the Whitecaps were struggling to deal with a sequence of pressure from the Rapids. But, like so many other losses this year, the Whitecaps missed a series of chances that could have changed the game. Within the first 10 minutes, Chinese striker Long Tan ha a wonderful in-close chance parried away by Rapids’ keeper Matt Pickens, and then Nizar Klhalfan was sprung down the right side by a fantastic diagonal ball from John Thorrington. But Khalfan’s shot across the face of goal went wide of the far post. Davide Chiumiento, who has been in the doghouse for a perceived lack of effort, came in as a second-half sub. Designated Player Eric Hassli also came in late. In his last game as coach Tom Soehn stayed away from the vets, and Designated Player disappointment Mustapha Jarju never made it off the bench. And, Philippe Davies, despite cries on social media to see the Canadian prospect play in the meaningless match, didn’t dress — as has been the case for most of the season.